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Meredith
31st March 2010, 12:39
This forum has often discussed how despicable it is when mothers put their own daughters on diets. It really is unthinkable - a mother starving her own child. The cruelty behind that is unimaginable. Mothers should be encouraging their daughters to be happy, to eat whatever they like and as much as they like, and helping their daughters develop positive views of their bodies, not stigmatizing them about their natural fullness and giving them a complex about having curves. What kind of mother does such a thing?

Well, I recently came across an article that was published late last year which reveals that a mothers' own diet-starvation, when she deprives herself of food, is just as bad an influence on their daughters as is an attempt to diminish their bodies.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223641/Mothers-diet-twice-likely-daughters-eating-disorders.html#

The pertinent points:

Mothers who diet are 'twice as likely' to have daughters with eating disorders

By Luke Salkeld
29th October 2009

Mothers who diet are almost twice as likely to have daughters who suffer from an eating disorder, researchers have claimed.

The majority of teenagers in a survey said they felt damaged by the effects of their mother's dieting and views on food and regarded their mothers as the biggest influence on their own self-image.

The survey of girls aged 12 to 18 found that six per cent of them had an eating disorder - a proportion that rose to one in ten among those whose mothers diet.

The poll revealed that almost eight out of 10 girls worry about their weight and one in five said they are criticised by family members for being 'too big'.

Annabel Brog, editor of teen magazine Sugar, which carried out the poll, said girls were heavily influenced by their family's views on diet and food, which she described as their 'thin-heritance'.

Nine per cent of teenage girls said they are 'constantly' on a diet - a figure that almost tripled among girls whose families comment on their weight.

Two-thirds said they had heard their mum complaining about her own weight and 56 per cent have mothers who are on a diet.

This is despite a massive 68 per cent describing their mother's body size as perfectly normal.

Commenting on the results of the survey, psychologist Amanda Hills said: 'Children learn how to behave by watching their parents.

'And a dieting parent will label certain foods as 'bad' or 'wrong', which can lead to an unhealthy approach to food.

'The 'drip-drip' effect of constant self-criticism in front of easily-influenced teens teaches them to do likewise.

'If mum's calling herself f**, it won't be long before her daughter is [calling herself that] too.
The article includes several examples of this situation, including appalling reports of parents who criticize their own daughters about their weight - which is tantamount to child abuse, as the parents in such a case becomes no better than the worst kind of schoolyard bullies.

But this research proves that even if the parents do not directly abuse their daughters about their weight, all it takes is for the mother to be subjecting herself to diet-starvation for the daughter to develop an eating disorder.

It's a damning rebuke of the weight-control industry, which, this research proves, is literally and directly causing eating disorders.

For the sake of their daughters' well-being, mental health, and body image, mothers should avoid any kind of dieting whatsoever, any negative talk about visible fullness, and any criticism of certain types of foods.

Mothers, like their daughters, should eat according to their natural appetites and with complete freedom. If this were to happen, the incidence of eating disorders would be drastically reduced.

Hannah
9th April 2010, 15:22
I thought about the mother/daughter relationship again today as I came across this article:

http://www.herald.ie/national-news/city-news/barbie-makes-girls-5-sad-about-bodies-2131749.html

I realize that the negative effects of an unnaturally elongated, anorexic-looking doll like Barbie are well known, but this study reaffirms the damage that it does.

Barbie 'makes girls (5) sad about bodies'

By Michael Lavery
Friday April 09 2010

CHILDREN as young as five are being influenced by the distorted view of 'perfect beauty' images, a psychologist warns.

Girls just five to seven years old report 'body dissatisfaction' after seeing ultra-thin Barbie dolls, according to new research by Dr Helga Dittmar.

And "body perfect" ideals in new, under-researched media like music videos and computer games also influence adolescents' body image, said Dr Dittmar...

While the use of ultra-thin models is defended with the argument that these images 'sell', alternative models with a healthy body size can be equally effective, said Dr Dittmar, a reader in Psychology at the University of Sussex and author of Consumer Culture, Identity and Well-Being.

TCD Professor of Childhood Research, Sheila Greene said: "The topic of body image is very relevant to girls and women in Ireland.

"Many of the images and messages in the popular media result in their feeling bad about their bodies, with a range of unhealthy consequences," she said.

The evidence suggests that body-perfect ideals in the media are a "significant immediate cause" of body dissatisfaction, the research shows.

The public lecture is aimed at "providing recent evidence on media's harm in producing distorted body image's ideals in children and adolescents".

What I find especially frightening is how young the girls are when they begin to be damaged by the emaciated standard. Five? Seven? They are defenseless at that age.

And then, if their mothers don't defend them from this media bombardment, but instead foster it by projecting their own body dissatisfaction on their daughters, the girls are truly left assaulted on all sides. No wonder so many develop eating disorders.

The only thing that I find offensive in the article is the use, even in scare quotes, of the word "perfect" to describe the modern standard. No word could be less applicable. There is nothing "perfect" about a corpse-like, shrivelled, stick-limbed appearance. Quite the opposite.

On the other hand, the well-fed feminine look of Classical beauty, with full features and soft, healthy, abundant flesh, that is true perfection. It's not "perfection" that is the problem. It's that what is being passed off as "perfect" is absolutely and utterly false - and psychologically poisonous as well.

HSG
21st September 2010, 23:37
The only thing that I find offensive in the article is the use, even in scare quotes, of the word "perfect" to describe the modern standard. No word could be less applicable. There is nothing "perfect" about a corpse-like, shrivelled, stick-limbed appearance. Quite the opposite.

On the other hand, the well-fed feminine look of Classical beauty, with full features and soft, healthy, abundant flesh, that is true perfection. It's not "perfection" that is the problem. It's that what is being passed off as "perfect" is absolutely and utterly false - and psychologically poisonous as well.
Very true. That is why there is so much more to the celebration of plus-size beauty than the pure enjoyment of aesthetics (although aesthetic enjoyment is in and of itself a profound imaginative and even spiritual experience). The root cause of many of the eating disorders from which women suffer is the warped, toxic ideal that has been foisted upon them.

If the term "perfect" were not mistakenly applied to the emaciated form (which is, in fact, the furthest thing from perfection that anyone could imagine), but rather defined in Classical terms as a well-fed, robust, radiant appearance, then the idealization of perfection would be a wonderful and culturally uplifting phenomenon, as it was throughout Western history prior to the 20th century.

It is not the notion of "perfection" that is the problem, for it is human nature to want to perfect oneself and to strive after an ideal. The problem is the distortion of perfection into a grotesque, starved parody of female appearance.

The solution, therefore, is to redefine perfection--to restore the timeless definition of the term, which was once a natural, healthy, gorgeous ideal.

For that to happen, what is needed are plus-size models who are so indisputably gorgeous that anyone looking at them is compelled to challenge their preconceptions, change their thinking, and acknowledge that these full-figured goddesses alone represent true perfection.

Anyone looking at Shannon Marie, with her angelic face and luscious figure, must acknowledge that she is aesthetically perfect--far more so than any minus-size waif. And with that redefined, timeless understanding of perfection in place, women would no longer starve themselves, but would celebrate their natural tendencies towards being full-figured. They would embrace their healthy appetites, and never again torture themselves (or their daughters) into unnatural diminished forms.

Still the most gorgeous plus-size model there has ever been:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/shannon/sh42.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/shannon/" target="_blank">Shannon Marie: Fairest of Them All</a>